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Dusty Black And Nic Monaco Mix Hayley Kiyoko Tour With Allen & Heath dLive

Compact C1500 dLive control surface with DM48 MixRack covers FOH and monitor positions for arena tour of US and Canada with Panic! At The Disco.

By PSW Staff June 27, 2018

Nic Monaco (left) and Dusty Black (right) showing off their compact 96kHz 160x64 Allen & Heath C1500

Front of house engineer/tour manager Dusty Black and monitor engineer/production manager Nic Monaco continue to expand their use of the Allen & Heath dLive digital mixing system as they set off on their latest summer tour season with Hayley Kiyoko.

Building upon the buzz of Kiyoko’s recent album release, Expectations, upcoming performances include shows at dozens of arenas across the US and Canada supporting the Panic! At The Disco Pray For The Wicked tour.

Having worked together for over a year as a front of house/monitor engineer team, Black and Monaco each selected a compact C1500 dLive control surface along with a shared 96kHz 160×64 FPGA Core DM48 MixRack as their console of choice. Utilizing the multi-surface feature within the dLive, the same MixRack engine works across two surfaces. Monaco noted how effective this approach has been, sharing how he has “really been getting into the mindset of sharing one console engine. We don’t really think about it much anymore except in very particular global functions or global setting changes. It hasn’t ever been a limiting factor. No lag, no artifacts. Sounds great. Everyone is super happy.”

Dusty Black at FOH with an Allen & Heath C1500 supporting Hayley Kiyoko on tour

Black was quick to add, “This is the first tour where we’ve had dual surfaces at front of house and monitor land like this and we immediately realized how much better that design is for us. The convenience and consistency and having such a small footprint—and a smaller price point—is so compelling.”

Speaking to their performance at Coachella 2018, Black also notes how he “threw the console over the barricade and into front of house position early on with no issues. It was a breeze. It stayed there all day as-is at our spot waiting for our set to begin. That was pretty rad. Can’t beat that for ease of load-in.”

Speaking to the sound of the dLive, Black says, “The desk is very transparent and easily transfers from PA to PA. You can push tube preamp emulations and on-board compressors to get color and personality, but also being able to be clean and pristine is great.”

Monaco comments, “And pristine not in an overly sterile way. Pristine and really precise. I’d make very small adjustments in tenths of milliseconds between guitar mic delays and the guitarist was hearing those subtle changes on stage.”

Due to the cost savings resulting from the use of a single MixRack engine, the group was able to purchase the system outright instead of renting along the tour. According to Black, “We both wanted something that we can fly with. We also always wanted to use dLive and it is so much more cost-effective in the long run for us to buy. We convinced management to make it happen. Quite frankly, the small size of the console was the only tricky part of the management conversation. ‘Is this tiny thing going to work for arenas?’ And of course the answer is ‘yes.’”

Prompted to share one last thought about their extensive use of dLive on the road, Black chuckled and adds, “I’ve had a record number of LD’s tell me how much cooler the audio console looks than the lighting console. It’s that signature dLive purple glow. Lighting designers complimenting the dLive lighting—love it.”

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